Key Signature Template for 4 Clefs

Key Signature Template for 4 Clefs

Douglas R. Bolasky
[email protected]
Southern Lehigh High School

TI:ME Technology Areas Addressed:

Notation Software


High School


Music Theory


Macintosh or PC, Finale Notation or NotePad Software


ca. 40 Minutes

Prior Knowledge and Skills:

It is assumed students already can: launch Finale, create a 4-staff score in the Set Up Wizard, select areas/regions, use the Page Layout tool and Clef Tool. It is assumed students know treble, bass, alto & tenor clefs; knowledge of placement of sharps & flats in tenor and bass clefs is helpful, but not required. Knowledge of the circle of fifths could be applied (See “Possible Follow-up Lessons”).

MENC Standards Addressed:

MENC 4: Composing and Arranging Music within specified guidelines.


Projector & screen for teacher to demonstrate procedures, blackboard/whiteboard & markers (optional).


This lesson is designed to familiarize the students with placement of sharps & flats for tenor and alto clefs, as most students do not come in regular contact with these clefs. At the conclusion of this lesson a student will be able to accurately place the sharps & flats for all major keys on the alto & tenor clefs.


Students begin by creating a 4-staff score using the Set-Up Wizard. Students should choose “Voice” from the Voice drop-down menu for each of the four staves. The score should be in C major and may use the default time signature. Once the score is set up the students should format their score in Page Layout to legal size page, landscape view, 15 meaures per system. It is desirable to delete extra measures from the document. The instructor may also elect to have students disable the “Courtesy Accidentals” from the Finale Document Options menu.

Students should leave the soprano (top) staff in treble clef. Using the Clef Tool, the alto (2nd) staff should be changed to alto clef, the tenor (3rd) staff should be changed to tenor clef, and the bass (bottom) staff should be changed to bass clef.

Using the Key Signature Tool, students should click/drag/
select the 2nd measure for all voices of the score, double-click in this highlighted area and from the d! ialogue box scroll down to choose the key of F Major. While in this dialogue box the student should click the top button from the “Measure Region” portion of the dialogue box. This will confine the insertion of the new key to only the 2nd measure of each staff. Click “OK.” The new key signature for F Major should appear in the 2nd measure of each staff. Repeat this procedure for the 3rd bar, this time choosing the key of Bb Major. Once students have been guided through the procedure the instructor may have them repeat the process on each successive measure up to 7 flats. Students who have had their instructor check their work to this point may then continue with the sharp keys in a similar fashion. The completed document will be a catalogue of key signature placement for all of the included clefs but will be most helpful for tenor & alto clefs. Students may write key signature names on a hard copy of the document or may add text fields using the Text Tool into the F! inale document.


The instructor may evaluate student work as the lesson progresses and/or may choose to administer a brief quiz or some other assessment tool in a future class.

Follow Up:

As with the treble & bass clefs, the placement of sharps & flats is an excellent illustration of the circle of 5ths and/or the inversion relationship between P5th and P4ths. This is easily done in a visual manner by rapidly scrolling up and down the keys while in the Key Signature dialogue box.

Items to Purchase:

The hardware & software is assumed to be in place. No additional materials are required.

When budget should be submitted:


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